The vision of paradise is most definitely unique to individual perception.
We just returned from a week-long stay at the place that feels most like paradise to me, and over the years it has become my daughter’s paradise, too, a wonderful gift to share.
This quiet, long stretch of beautiful beach was our favorite getaway when our children were quite young. There is nothing quite as touching as hearing my young grandchildren ask if we can please go back again soon.
Playing in the waves, strolling while looking for seashells, taking in the grandeur of endless horizon, the constant of high tide and low tide — it is all a wonderful break from our typical, daily life.
One of my hopes has always been to find a complete, perfect sand dollar on that lovely shore. I’ve found some that were close, though broken in one way or another.
I equate the search to my childhood days of hunting arrowheads on our farm with my sisters and our dad. Dad had the most impressive arrowhead collection, gathered throughout his childhood while walking the farm with his grandfather, then later while farming his own farms.
The elusive, perfect sand dollar is now sought by my young grandson and granddaughter. As the week-long search played out with only broken pieces being found, our son-in-law decided to buy a couple of manufactured ones in a beach store.
One morning, our grandson, who is 6, found the first one, so perfectly white and divine. He couldn’t wait to show me, his face beaming with the excitement he felt in his discovery.
The next morning, our last full day there, rain kept us from the beach. We visited a great aquatic museum, geared for kids but impressive, fun and educational for all. As the rain continued to fall, I had a feeling our littlest vacationer would miss her opportunity to find her own sand dollar.
That evening, the rain let up after a great meal of fresh fish. The very quiet, private beach beckoned. As little Landry walked beside her mama, the 4-year-old picked up the tiniest of shells. As her dad videotaped from a distance, Landry suddenly laid eyes on that perfect, round, brilliantly white sand dollar.
Her little blue eyes lit up, she swooped and scooped that shell while jumping for joy, shouting, “I found this! I found this!” Her smile and her jubilation was contagious and wonderful, and I will carry it in my heart for a very long time.
Returning home, standing on our back porch, the scent of freshly mown hay, a gorgeous sunset with vibrant pink, orange, and shades of deep blues spreading across the wide open western horizon, I know deep in my bones that this, too, is paradise.
Counting all my blessings, trading sand for lush green grass under my bare feet. Life is good!
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